Practice Tips!

Practice Log & Expectations

posted Aug 19, 2014, 5:25 AM by Kelly Gumble

Attached to this post is a .pdf document of the updated practice log for the 2014-15 school year, as well as a note about practice expectations, and a chart of our lesson sequence.  Please review at your convenience!

How to "mix it up" and keep practicing fun!

posted Jan 13, 2012, 5:45 AM by Kelly Gumble

Oftentimes (especially during the colder winter months) we can get "stuck in a rut" with practice routines.  This can often lead to students losing motivation or interest and not wanting to practice.  Here are a couple of helpful hints to try to mix it up!

1.  Perform a recital for family members, friends, or neighbors. - The added excitement of a performance can easily create extra motivation to practice.
2.  Set a very specific and achievable goal for each practice session. - When you've accomplished your goal, you may finish playing.  This kind of focus can give students a better sense of accomplishment when they are finished their practice session and can help eliminate "going through the motions."
3.  Record your practice session and give it a critique. - Many times when students are "going through the motions" they are making mistakes or missing things that they wouldn't normally miss when adequately focused.  Making an audio recording with computer programs like Garage Band or Audacity (or even with a tape recorder or cell phone), can give students an opportunity to critique their performance and find specific goals to work toward.  
4.  Try playing something different! - If you just need to get away from your band music or lesson assignment for a day, there are many books available that have popular Disney songs, or movie music like Harry Potter or Star Wars.  This can be a great way to play, but still feel like you're taking a break.  Just be careful - a lot of these books have concepts and techniques that we haven't gone over yet!  Try your best, but make sure to check in with Mrs. Gumble with any questions.

Do you have any practice tips that work for you?  Email Mrs. Gumble with any additions to our lists!

Practice Procedure

posted Jan 3, 2011, 10:34 AM by Kelly Gumble   [ updated Dec 19, 2013, 5:11 AM ]

Many music students spend a great deal of time practicing their instruments, but become frustrated that their time is not turning into the results they would like.  I encourage you to use this page as a resource for practice tips to help you get maximum results out of your practice time!  I will try to update it as I come upon new tips or struggles.  If you have any routines or suggestions that help you, please pass them along to me so that I may share them with others!

How to Practice
2.  Focus most of your time on technical passages or "hard stuff." 
3.  Break these sections into small logical sections or chunks (oftentimes measure by measure is the easiest way).  
4.  REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT....... REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT.... (you get the idea :)  ).  Play     the chunk 5 times without mistakes before moving on to the next one.
5.  Once you are comfortable with the small chunks, begin putting them back together into larger chunks (two or four measures).
6.  When you are comfortable with the larger chunks, begin increasing the tempo gradually until you are at "performance tempo" and ready to perform the full exercise or excerpt.

Common Practicing Mistakes to Avoid
1.  Playing through each exercise from beginning to end. --> Though I am happy you are playing outside of school, this will not accomplish nearly what the above procedure will and may result in great frustration!
2.  Playing through the parts that sound good. --> It is human nature to want to be great at the activities we choose.  But, focusing only on our successes and ignoring our weaknesses will only make the weaknesses more apparent.  If we focus on improving the areas with which we struggle, there will be many more successes!
3.  Trying to fix everything during every practice session. --> Plan out your weekly practice routine to accomplish small goals during each practice session.  Focus on one excerpt or exercise during each session throughout the week.  With focused attention during one practice session, the exercise should not need nearly as much time the following session.  This should help to keep tasks small and not feel overwhelmed.

Do you have tips for practice that may help your fellow classmates?  Email Mrs. Gumble to share!

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